Brighton: Anti-equal marriage ex-Green councillor to debate issue with pro-gay Tory MP

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Former Green councillor Christina Summers who resigned from her party in protest at its decision to support equal marriage will debate the issue this evening alongside Conservative MP Simon Kirby.

Mr Kirby, the MP for Brighton Kemptown, is a strong supporter of equal marriage.

He voted in favour of the same-sex marriage bill in the Commons at second and third reading.

Independent councillor Christina Summers, who will also be taking part in the Changing Attitude Sussex event at St Mary’s Church in Kemptown on Friday, 8pm, was expelled from the Green Party last year after speaking out against same-sex marriage based on her Christian beliefs.

Ms Summers went against party lines in August 2012 when the Greens were discussing the government’s plans to introduce equal marriage by 2015.

The month before in a Brighton and Hove City Council debate she had said: “When you touch marriage, you’re touching family, and you’re hitting at the very heart of God, and I have an enormous problem with that”.

Last September, Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton and Pavilion, spoke to about her “disappointment” at Ms Summers’ conduct.

Ms Lucas said: “Of course there is a tradition of conscience and so forth, but we actually made sure all of our councillors signed a pledge around equalities before they stood to be councillor”.

Ms Summers failed in her bid to overturn the decision last November.

The decision to expel was taken in regards to her wider behaviour.

Also speaking at the Changing Attitude Sussex event will be the Reverend David Page in support of equal marriage and Dr Sharon James of the Coalition for Marriagea staunch campaigner against marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Attendance is free.